Florida Gators: College Football Midterm Report Card
After consecutive losses to Alabama and LSU, Florida, ranked No. 3 in the preseason, has fallen to No. 22. Perhaps seduced by Tim Tebow's four years of excellence, pollsters viewed UF as a national title contender yet again in 2010. Unfortunately for Gator Nation, 2010 is not 2008 or 2009.
At midterm, Florida is suffering more from unrealistic expectations than shoddy play. Sure, the Gators have been up and down this season, but that's understandable; the team has more youth than experience.
For the Florida Gators, 2010 appears to be a transition year. Rather than view this season through a cloudy lens, hopefully UF fans will focus on the rainbow: Your team will most likely vie for a title again in 2011.
- Total Offense: 323.7 YPG
- Passing Offense: 183.0 YPG
- Rushing Offense: 140.7 YPG
- Points For: 31.0
- Giveaways: 12 (5 INT, 7 FUM)
- Passing: John Brantley 105 of 169, 1,056 YDS, 6 TD, 4 INT, 121.60 RAT
- Rushing: Jeffery Demps 64 CAR, 414 YDS, 6.5 AVG, 2 TD
- Receiving: Deonte Thompson 23 REC, 328 YDS, 14.3 AVG, 0 TD
This season's offense is, arguably, the Gators' worst during Urban Meyer's tenure as UF coach. While the ground game is adequate, QB John Brantley has yet to really "take hold" of the offense. In fact, one could argue that backup Trey Burton, with his eight rushing touchdowns, has been the more effective quarterback.
- Total Defense: 306.7 YPG
- Passing Defense: 188.8 YPG
- Rushing Defense: 117.8 YPG
- Points Against: 20.2
- Takeaways: 16 (13 INT/3TD, 3 FUM)
- Sacks: 13
- Tackles: Ahmad Black 50 (33 assisted, 17 solo)
- Sacks: Jaye Howard 2.5
- Interceptions: Black, Jeremy Brown, Jonathan Bostic 3
Like the offense, the Gator D, to this point, has been average at best. In two games against ranked opponents (Alabama and LSU), Florida has allowed 31 and 33 points, respectively. The positive: The UF defense has returned three of its 13 interceptions for touchdowns.
- Kick Return Average: 27.5 YPR
- Punt Return Average: 7.6 YPR
- Opponents' Kick Return Average: 22.0 YPR
- Opponents' Punt Return Average: 13.0 YPR
- Net Punting Average: 44.0 YPP
- Opponents' Net Punting Average: 36.8 YPP
- Field Goals: 4 of 7
- Opponents' Field Goals: 8 of 9
- Kick Returns: Demps 32.5 YPR
- Punt Returns: Janoris Jenkins 9.0 YPR
Jeffery Demps and Chas Henry lead the Gators' special teams.
Demps, a junior, averages an impressive 32.5 yards on eight kick returns this season. Henry, UF's punter, has a net punting average of 44.0. Beyond those numbers, Florida's special teams have been so-so or, in the case of kicking (4 of 7 field goals), not so special.
Are Florida's struggles more a result of coaching or inexperience? Remember, the Gators lost current NFLers Tim Tebow, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes, among others. Perhaps Meyer could open the offense for Brantley and provide Demps with more touches, but the coach has done fine with a young crocodile squad.
Team Results (4-2, 2-2 SEC, No. 22)
- Miami (OH), W 34-12
- South Florida, W 38-14
- @ Tennessee, W 31-17
- Kentucky, W 48-14
- @ Alabama, L 31-6
- LSU, L 33-29
The 2010 campaign is about rebuilding. With only nine returning starters from 2009—and an inexperienced pocket passer replacing an All-American dual-threat—UF has struggled this season, especially against quality opponents.
Nevertheless, a BCS bowl game is still within reach, which isn't bad for a youthful team that's still a year away from again contending for a national championship.
In short, this season is but a pocket-sized speed bump on the Gators' road back to Titletown.